Raymond Berry: Murfreesboro’s link to pro football’s Big Game – Part 4

Photo by Tyler Lamb / Sports Editor

Championship player, NFL Hall of Famer, Super Bowl head coach and a Murfreesboro resident. One of these is not like the other. So how did the greatest wide receiver of his era wind up just a few miles from Middle Tennessee State?

“Sally’s brother [wife’s brother], Tom Crook, owned a company here called Freedom Industries,” said Berry. “We had spent offseason time in Murfreesboro because of children and grandchildren, our children and their children both liked to be with each other so we got familiar with Murfreesboro. So whenever the time came to get out of coaching, it was a simple decision to make. This was where we wanted to come.

Berry said the two most appealing factors, other than being with his family, is the fact that the ‘Boro isn’t a huge city and that it’s close to the Nashville airport.

He also noted that the climate is something he never gets tired of, especially our four seasons.

Throughout the years, Berry has stayed loyal to his Patriots, watching them go on to become the most dominant team of the millennium. However, the Hall of Famer also doesn’t forget the franchise that gave him the chance, the Colts. In return, the don’t forget him either.

In 2012, prior to the Giants beating the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, Berry was given the honor of presenting the Lombardi Trophy to the winning team in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium. The New York players made a path in which Berry entered on his way to the mid-field stage. While making the trek that was shown live on NBC in front of 100 million people, Berry admitted it was an incredible feeling.

“Its kind of an out of body experience,” said Berry. “It’s like I’ve been out of the game a good while and then all of the sudden you get thrust on the biggest stage in pro football. It’s a little mind-boggling.”

“But you know I spent my whole life in professional football so I did not feel out of pocket, particularly. But I was also aware that this type of thing just doesn’t happen. But it was happening, so I had to kind of pinch myself to make sure I was in the right spot.”

While walking to the stage, some players reached out just to touch the trophy. Then there were others on the team who went all in, sneaking in a kiss as well. Even with the latter result, Berry could relate.

“Well, they’re out of their minds anyway. The winners are standing there and they’re on a high. But I understood them because I’ve been there. I know how it feels. The privilege to be apart of a ceremony like that, you have to scratch your head and say ‘how in the world did that happen.’ ”

In his lifetime, Berry has experienced an unimaginable amount of success in the world of sports and in life. When asked what his most proud accomplishment has been, Berry’s response was quick.

“I think the first thing that comes to my mind is getting my wife. That may be my most major accomplishment. She’s a jewel of jewels and how I ended up with her, I don’t really know. I grabbed her, so she can’t get away now.”

In all stages of Berry’s career, his wife stood beside him. She was there through the success, as well as the disappointments.

As for his legacy, Berry said he wants to be remembered for one thing and one thing only when others think of him.

“Well I think number one is I would like for them to be aware of the fact that I acknowledged God and that none of this would’ve ever happened if it hadn’t been for his plan and purpose in my life. I’m quite aware of the fact that he’s the one that orchestrated all of it.”

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To contact Sports Editor Tyler Lamb (@Tlamb35), email sports@mtsusidelines.com.

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